LEAD GENERATION IN FRANCHISE & B2B SALES

So how can you be sure your sales leads are the best they can be? The answer is simple: follow some simple guidelines to ensure that every sales lead you generate will be of the highest quality. It would be best if you hired experienced and reliable third-party companies — that specialize in developing quality sales leads.

Lead Generation in Franchise and B2B Sales
By Gary Occhiogrosso – Recognized Franchise Expert and Managing Partner at Franchise Growth Solutions.

Introduction

Lead generation is an essential part of any business’s marketing efforts. If you are marketing a franchise or business opportunity, lead generation is probably a top priority. So how can you be sure your sales leads are the best they can be? There are many factors to consider when choosing where to advertise your franchise opportunity. You want to generate enough leads so that your sales reps have enough prospects to call on each day. The key is having enough quality prospects to follow up with once they’ve been contacted by the sales rep for an appointment or demonstration.

If you’re marketing a franchise or business opportunity, lead generation is probably a top priority. So how can you be sure your sales leads are the best they can be? The answer is simple: follow some simple guidelines to ensure that every sales lead you generate will be of the highest quality. It would be best if you hired experienced and reliable third-party companies that specialize in developing quality sales leads. These agencies generate high-quality B2B sales leads distributed to companies seeking buyers of franchises and business opportunities, as well as other B2B offers. They often maintain close relationships with key decision-makers at Fortune 500 companies, smaller businesses, and entrepreneurs looking for expansion.

First, evaluate where your leads are coming from and if they are producing results.
Evaluate where your leads are coming from. Are they from a reputable source? Are they producing results?
If you’re using a lead generation platform or software, look at the data and make sure it’s accurate. Are they the right type of leads? The right quantity? The right quality?

Common Lead Gen Sources
The top four ways to generate your sales leads most effectively are via online, print, broadcast and trade publications. Each of these channels has its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as advantages and disadvantages that can help or hinder your business.

The first step in deciding which channel is right for you is determining how much budget you have available to invest in lead generation activities. This can be done by identifying the total number of leads needed each month, then multiplying this number by an average cost per lead (CPL). For example: if you need 100 leads per month and a CPL of $100 per lead, then it will cost $10,000 each month just to generate those prospects! The next step is figuring out what kind of ROI each channel provides on investment (ROI). For example: if one type of channel gives a 10% return on investment but another gives an 80% return on investment – which would you choose?

Finally comes the question about which specific platforms within those channels are best suited for generating potential customers who have the highest probability of converting into clients?

Do your homework. Research the media channels thoroughly before investing in any lead generation campaign.

* Understand the audience you are targeting.

* Understand the purpose of advertising and how it will help your business’ bottom line.

* Understand how much you will pay for a campaign, and whether or not you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Once you have done this research, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not advertising is worth your time.

Monitor Results

You’ll need to determine who is responsible for monitoring the ad’s results, what kind of reporting will be provided and how often you should expect it.

For example, if your sales team is responsible for monitoring an advertisement campaign, make sure they understand that they are responsible for tracking responses and providing feedback on which ads have worked best (or worst). If you’ve entered into an agreement with a third-party provider that handles all advertising, request regular reports from them so that you can track how well your various campaigns are performing.

Lead Providers – Questions and Due Diligence

* Ask about other clients who have purchased advertising through the company. Be sure to ask for references.

* Ask about other clients who have purchased advertising through the company.

* Be sure to ask for references and testimonials, as well.

* Ask for case studies of work done with clients like yours in the past, as well as feedback from those same clients on their experiences with your prospective supplier or agency partner’s services/products/programs/etc.. (Note: case studies should be written by actual customers; testimonials may be written by either customers or employees).

* Request a list of all current clients so you can check them out on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn) and see what they are saying about the organization(s) they work with most often—and perhaps even reach out directly via social media channels such as Twitter or Instagram if you feel comfortable doing so!

The Heart of the Matter

Sales leads are at the heart of any lead generation campaign so it’s important to choose them carefully. Sales leads are people who have expressed interest in your products or services but haven’t yet made a purchase. They may be considering a purchase now, or they might wait until a later date. Sales leads can come from many places: online ads and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are two key sources, but you’ll also find them by visiting trade shows and conferences that target your ideal customer base. Lead generation experts recommend using multiple methods in tandem when developing an effective sales strategy because each one has its own strengths and weaknesses—and no one method works best for every industry!

Conclusion
We’ve covered much ground in this post. Follow these tips, create a plan and execute. Lead Gen is a critical component of your successful sales program. For more information on accelerating your franchise sales contact Franchise Growth Solutions, and let’s start the conversation.

Modern Tech Can Give Restaurants An Edge

It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems.

Modern Tech Can Give Restaurant Businesses An Edge
By Jeremy Einbinder

Restaurants are continuing to use newer technologies that have the potential to optimize the experience both for the consumer and the business. Anything that improve customer experience and reduce labor costs- which is very important in a tight market- is a win-win.

Franchised Restaurants Set Themselves Apart

All of these innovations are especially important for franchised restaurants and allows them to set themselves apart from other restaurants. For entrepreneurs looking to open restaurant locations, it can be difficult to gather all the technological resources available to improve operations. It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems. These technological enhancements are wide-ranging and could set off a franchise restaurant boom.

For instance, instead of third-party delivery apps, many customers report a preference for ordering directly from the restaurant itself. It would be beneficial, if possible, for a company to have their own internal delivery app. In addition to building brand recognition, this also helps businesses avoid paying exorbitant fees.

Fred Kirvan, Founder and CEO of Kirvan Consulting, a New Jersey based restaurant optimization and consulting firm said: “At this year’s National Restaurant Show, we observed some notable improvements in tech-driven kitchen equipment aimed at providing a more consistent product to its end-user but much of the new tech seemed to be aimed at employee retention.”

Look But Don’t Touch

Payment technologies which allow for no-contact money transfer can also prove to be crucial, especially since the pandemic. In keeping with no-touch technology, it is becoming commonplace for customers to also access only menus and order without contact, allowing for a much safer environment for everybody. The cost reduction for restaurants can be substantial.

There are also tech payment options for employee payroll. Kirvan noted: “Companies offering early pay options and incentives were the noticeable standouts for me. Employee retention is key when you can consider all the software available for taking orders, you’re going to need people to prepare those orders.

Reservation applications like Eat App, Tablein, or OpenTable allow customers to see available time slots, and book their times at their convenience. In such apps, users simply view the time slots available with the number of seats needed and select one. This takes away any awkward interaction with staff of someone calling the restaurant and asking for a specific time for a reservation, only to realize it’s not available. For the business, it allows much greater flexibility in managing waitlists as well as customer loyalty.

Reducing Friction for the Front and Back of House

For streamlining customer orders, Kitchen Display Systems are very efficient, allowing both customers and kitchen staff to seamlessly log orders, instantly displaying them on screen according to priority. This also makes accommodating dietary restrictions much easier.

Radwan Masri, a 30 year veteran in the hospitality industry and a leading international culinary consultant and franchise expert with Ayy Karamba Hospitality added “The other side of food service tech driven business is FOH & BOH automation. Labor shortage in the service business combined with an increase demand for delivered food has impacted how food orders is being processed from start to end. Self-Serve ordering stations, QR codes scanning procedures. Your order nowadays through a drive through window is not the same as it used to be. i.e. I order in Chicago via a drive through window while my order is being processed by a mom sitting at home in Atlanta GA!”

This type of innovation is incredibly valuable and can easily cut down on unnecessary laborious tasks for employees. In addition, artificial intelligence technologies like Winnow reduce food waste. Using a camera, Winnow “learns” to recognize different foods being thrown away. It then calculates the financial and environmental cost of this discarded food to commercial kitchens. This in turn saves company’s money.

In Conclusion

If franchisees and independent restauranteurs expect to stay relevant and competitive they need to take advantage of these burgeoning technologies. The guest expectation has risen as a result of the pandemic and most guests will give a restaurant one, perhaps two chances to meet or exceed their exceptions. When it comes to the the overall guest experience, using these technologies gives operators a better chance to succeed.

Franchisor Focus: The One Responsibility of Franchising Too Many Franchisors Overlook

The relationship between a franchisor and their franchisees touches every aspect of a franchise operation ranging from developing the franchise system to franchisees participating in aggressive price promotions. A positive relationship can enable success while poor franchise relations can thwart it.

Franchisor Focus: The One Responsibility of Franchising Too Many Franchisors Overlook
Courtesy of Ed Teixeira

As I consider subject matter for my franchise blogs it’s sometimes challenging to come up with a stimulating topic. Because I direct content mainly to franchisors, it’s important to provide helpful and constructive information. Whether as a franchisee, franchisor executive or providing operational advice to franchisors I’ve always advocated that a franchisor should have a strong franchise relations strategy. Certain franchisors are familiar with the clichés often attributed to fostering a climate of positive franchise relations, including having profitable franchisees, responding promptly to their emails, telephone calls and requests for assistance. Unfortunately, some franchisors don’t give franchise relations the attention it deserves.

In 1992 I was fortunate to contribute to the first IFA Franchise Relations booklet, so I decided to review articles written by franchisor executives. Although the booklet was published 29 years ago, in terms of franchise relationship management very little has changed. The same principles and policies that were advocated then remain the same. No other component of the franchise business model has remained constant.

The relationship between a franchisor and their franchisees touches every aspect of a franchise operation ranging from developing the franchise system to franchisees participating in aggressive price promotions. A positive relationship can enable success while poor franchise relations can thwart it. Unfortunately, some franchisors ignore how important franchise relations is or fail to have a franchise relationship strategy.

Here are four questions that franchisors need answered to appraise the state of their franchise relations.

Are the franchisees profitable?
Whether using Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”) or franchisee financial statements to measure franchisee financial and operational performance, this is an important responsibility of every franchisor. Rather than obtaining an answer to this question many franchisors focus on identifying the franchisees that aren’t profitable. The problem with this approach is that the franchisor lacks key financial and operational data that pertain to their entire system and individual franchisees.

Are franchisee customers satisfied with the products or services?
Franchisors should have a method for obtaining franchise feedback regarding the level of customer satisfaction. Whether using customer satisfaction surveys, franchisee focus groups or surveying franchisees its important information that should be gathered. This data benefits the franchisor and its franchisees.

What are our franchisee competitors doing?
Franchisors that display an interest in the behavior of their franchisee competitors will receive high marks from their franchisees. Many franchisors rely upon their franchisees for competitive information, however when the franchisor plays an active role in this process it benefits the franchise system and enhances franchise relations.

Is the franchisor doing the best it can?
Whether using a third-party firm to survey franchisees or doing their own survey, a franchisor must have a method for measuring their franchisee satisfaction levels. When the results are tabulated, the franchisor will know which areas if any can negatively impact franchise relations and may require attention.

Despite the countless changes that have occurred in the franchise industry over the years, one constant is the importance of franchise relationship management. Franchisors should be focused on evaluating and managing their relationship with their franchisees.

About the Author: Ed Teixeira
Ed Teixeira is a recognized franchise expert with over 35 years experience in the franchise industry. He has served as a corporate executive for franchise firms in the retail, manufacturing, healthcare and technology industries and was a franchisee of a multi-million dollar home healthcare franchise. Ed is the author of Franchising From the Inside Out and The Franchise Buyers Manual. He has participated in the CEO Magazine Roundtable Meetings with business leaders from around the country and spoke at a number of venues including the International Franchise Expo and the Chinese Franchise Association in Shanghai, China. Over the course of his career, Ed has been involved with over 1,000 franchise locations and launched franchise concepts from existing business models. Ed can be contacted at 631-246-5782 or [email protected]

HOW TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN EMPLOYEES AS WE EXIT THE PANDEMIC

Some of the causes of the great employment disruption of 2021 are beyond the influence of employers. However, there are a number of initiatives that can be implemented by employers to retain employees and attract those who are looking for a change in what they do. So, how do you retain and attract employees? 

HOW TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN EMPLOYEES AS WE EXIT THE PANDEMIC
by Stan Silverman
Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on November 15, 2021.

Due to the effects of the pandemic, 2021 will be known as a year of immense employment disruption. This is especially acute in the restaurant, hospitality and other service industries, where employees now have higher-paying employment alternatives. 
The cause of the Great Resignation is not limited to dissatisfaction with pay. Many employees who are nearing retirement have decided to leave the workforce earlier than they had planned. Other employees have reevaluated their lives and decided what they were doing was not for them. 

Some employees are burned out dealing with hostile customers and working to meet pent-up demand. Others have left the workforce because they cannot afford childcare. There are those who point to governmental assistance as the reason people are not working, but that assistance ended in September.

Some of the causes of the great employment disruption of 2021 are beyond the influence of employers. However, there are a number of initiatives that can be implemented by employers to retain employees and attract those who are looking for a change in what they do. So, how do you retain and attract employees? 

Employees come before customers

In my columns for the Philadelphia Business Journal, I have emphasized the importance of delivering a great customer/client experience as a way to become the preferred provider in the marketplace. It’s your employees who deliver a great customer/client experience. 

Quoting Sir Richard Branson, co-founder of Virgin Group, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Treat your employees well. They will help you become a preferred employer.
Nurture a culture in which your employees develop a sense of ownership in what they do. Listen to their ideas. Value their contributions. Never micromanage. Set expectations, empower them and cut them loose to do their thing. 

Compensate employees so your company is an attractive employment alternative

For years, many have advocated raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, with little success. Today, many businesses need to pay $20/hour or more to attract employees. Why? Employees have alternative employment opportunities not only within the same industry, but also within other industries that are rapidly growing. For example, an employee working at a restaurant can quit and go to work for Amazon instead. Pay employees competitively with their alternatives to keep them and attract others.
Will increasing the compensation of employees require companies to raise prices? Yes. The economy will adjust as it did after the dramatic increase in oil prices during the 1970s. 

Differentiate your company and its culture 

Just as you differentiate your company so customers/clients want to buy from you instead of your competition, differentiate your company so employees want to work for you rather than their alternatives. 
Treat all employees as important to your success. Show your appreciation for what they do. Where practical, depending on the job, institute a hybrid model, giving them flexibility to work remotely or at the office. There are companies that have been operating 100% virtually with great effectiveness for many years without adversely impacting employee collaboration. Saved commuting time is spent working on business issues, as well as taking care of personal matters, which reduces employee stress and increases morale.

Differentiate your company from others. Treat your employees as you would like to be treated. Make it part of your brand. Your reputation will attract the employees you need to run your business. 

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About the Author
Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate governance. He can be reached at [email protected]

Lead Generation, Franchise Sales and Reality

This approach is terrible not only because you have empty spots in your pipeline but also because an ebb and flow in the advertising plan sometimes may cause the “brand” to disappear for awhile and send the franchise buyers a less than confidence inspired massage. For a start-up or emerging brand, this is the equivalent of a jet airliner “pumping the brakes” to save fuel while attempting to “take off.” It usually leaves a mess at the end of the runway.

Lead Generation, Franchise Sales and Reality
By Gary Occhiogrosso – Managing PartnerFranchise Growth Solutions, LLC.
Photo by Kees Streefkerk on Unsplash

The best way to get results in franchise lead generation is to remember that NOTHING works a lot, but everything works a little. What does that mean? It means for a start-up or an emerging brand (under 50 units), you need to try various lead sources to test which “streams” bring in the type of leads at the rate necessary to make your sales plan.

Look at all the factors in the game
Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Acquisition are only two KPI’s to look at when monitoring your program and its results. It is not as straightforward or revealing to limit your decision based on “how much did I spend and how many units did I sell.” The Reality is; it takes numerous elements to gain success. Such as time to build your pipeline (5-8 months), consistent follow up by a competent, highly trained, and relentless sales staff. As well as accepting the reality of the selling cycle
(about 120 to 180 days) and a realistic lead generation budget to pursue a professional and sustainable franchising recruiting effort. Your brand will NOT “sell itself.”

The Reality is that consistency in lead flow is also essential. I have seen many start-ups and emerging brands take a hiccup approach to franchise lead generation. This approach is terrible not only because you have empty spots in your pipeline but also because an ebb and flow in the advertising plan sometimes may cause the “brand” to disappear for a while and send the franchise buyers a less than confidence inspired massage. For a start-up or emerging brand, this is the equivalent of a jet airliner “pumping the brakes” to save fuel while attempting to “take off.” It usually leaves a mess at the end of the runway.

Royalties will make you the King or Queen
For me, the most important thing for a start-up or emerging brand to remember is the “value” of your franchisee over the lifetime of the franchise agreement. The Reality is; if you calculate the royalty return over that period, you will see the real reward of consistent lead generation and awarding a franchise. Calculate your Royalties on your AUV’s by the number of years you expect your franchisee to be in business, and it’s obvious. Do the math. Keep that in mind, and you won’t think the “Cost Per Acquisition” is too high unless you are attempting to “fund” your new franchise company from the upfront franchise fee collected. Funding your growth solely with the Initial Franchise Fees is never a good idea.

You should be in the franchising business for the royalties and the eventual exit, not the franchise fee. News Flash, focusing on the collection of Franchise Fees doesn’t work and often puts not only the franchisor in jeopardy of failure but also the franchisee. When you focus on the franchisee’s success, you will build a better organization, better equipped to support your franchisee. Successful franchisees paying long term, residual income from ROYALTIES is the way to BUILD YOUR BUSINESS.

A bigger “kiss” at the end
The Reality is; the sale of franchise companies (especially to Private Equity firms) have proven time and time again, that multiples paid on Royalty driven EBITDA at exit are more significant than the multiple typically offered on EBITDA derived from company operations. That’s because it’s scalable at a faster pace and with a lower cost.

Building a franchise business as a Franchisor requires a great concept, a comprehensive system, manuals and training, proven results, capital, planning and patience. If you remove any one of these components the journey may be an endless winding road with no clear direction.Talk to us to get started.

For more information, visit our YouTube channel and watch the videos titled:
“Using Digital to Sell More Franchises.”
“Private Equity and Franchising.”
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy6HZTtVYfsO9o8fBFMnZww

Contact us at [email protected]
Explore our entire website: www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com

Leads – A Never Ending Challenge For All Companies

Photo by Berkeley Communications on Unsplash

He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.

Fishing for Leads – The 5 Steps
By: Peter Lawless

The first thing that I noticed when I got onto the small boat at the harbour in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, was the cleanliness and order of the boat. The skipper in charge had all of the rods, upright, with their lines neatly tucked away, in holders. The holders were made out of piping, about 30cm long, which had been welded to the side of the boat.

A simple, inexpensive aid had made me sit up and pay attention. This skipper thought about his customers, and this device left a strong impression. We then got a very short lecture on safety, checked we had our life jackets on, and off we went. About 12 of us!

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Finding your target market
About 12 minutes later, the skipper stopped the boat, and told us we should find some mackerel here. He explained that the lures on the hooks looked just like what mackerel wanted to eat. It certainly was not something I would have fancied!

He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.

Reeling in the sale
Now I don’t know about you, but this was totally new to me. I wound up the line frantically, as soon as I felt a tug, and hey presto, there were three fish dangling off the hooks. I started flailing about, one jumped off before I even got it in over the side, and when I was trying to reel it in the final bit I lost another one. The one that I got in, I lost down the gutter when I finally got it off the hook.

The skipper explained to me, that once a fish took the bait, I should give a quick tug on the rod, to make sure it was firmly hooked. I should then take my time, to reel it in. Secure the rod in the holder, with the fish hanging over the bucket and deal with them one by one – I did, and I ended up with 20 fish, which delighted me, as I had set a target of 10, since my friend had caught 9 on his first time

So what are the lessons for marketing – if you are still with me, and have not already got most of them, here they are in business speak;
1. Set goals and targets that are realistic, and based on some valid foundation or research.
2. Have simple procedures set up, to make it easy to operate and for your customers to conduct business with you.
3. Speak in your prospects language, about what they want – it’s a bit like the fish bait, unlikely that strawberries and cream will catch many mackerel!
4. Once you know what your prospects like, find out where they are, do some research and target them accordingly – as in our example, not much point in putting down shark bait in a shoal of mackerel.
5. Once you get your customers attention or have a lead, qualify it, and ensure you follow up at all time to close the sale. Again the use of a good sales process is essential here.

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The bottom line, if you know what problems or desires your customers have, and you can solve or fulfill these, while providing value for money, you will always be a winner.

And if you don’t know the answer to that question, go ask the people who have already bought from you – they do!

Author Bio
Business Owners who need more sales and better marketing advice, turn to Peter Lawless, of 3R Sales & Marketing. For previous articles and interviews like this, visit our website and subscribe to Success. We also provide free Sales & Marketing Assessments for Business Owners with an Irish Connection.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content

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After 16 Years, Family Owned Gofer Ice Cream Launches Franchise Program

Gofer Ice Cream Franchised Shop, Darien Connecticut

From traditional hard and soft ice cream to fat-free treats, and more recently expanding into plant-based ice cream products with the same promise of high quality for which the brand is known.

PRESS RELEASE
Beloved Connecticut based Ice Cream Company plans to expand in the Northeast

Stamford, Connecticut. Gofer Franchise Systems LLC. Today Gofer Ice Cream announced it has launched a program to offer Gofer Ice Cream Franchises throughout Connecticut immediately. The company is set to expand beyond the State in 2020.

Jay Ragusa, Gofer Ice Cream’s Founder, said: “We’ve been preparing for this day since we launched the brand in 2003. It has always been the plan to prove and perfect the concept and then replicate it through the franchise model. We’ve learned a lot over the years, and we feel we’re in a great position to help others own, operate, and prosper in their own business. Prospective franchisee partners can be confident in the Gofer Ice Cream Brand and system that we offer. The fact is that many concepts have come and gone, but we are here thriving and growing.”

Ice Cream, Franchise, Profit
Gofer Ice Cream Franchised Shop, Darien Connecticut

The successful “Gofer” brand has been serving the Fairfield County Connecticut area for over seventeen seasons, through its current five locations, and it has become a local favorite for many. The concept of Gofer Ice Cream, which was founded by Jay Ragusa and his family, is to be the “home team” of ice cream places. In every town or city, the goal is for Gofer Ice Cream to become the center of the community, where family and friends can enjoy a high-quality frozen treat in a welcoming environment. The shops are simple, easy, and fun to operate. Also, Gofer Ice Cream Shops are built for a relatively low cost. Franchise Partners are already scooping smiles daily, and the goal is to bring this experience to more and more communities. Gofer Ice Cream offers a variety of frozen treats for the entire family. From traditional hard and soft ice cream to fat-free treats, and more recently expanding into plant-based ice cream products with the same promise of high quality for which the brand is known. In 2019 a new company, “Gofer Franchise Systems LLC,” was formed to focus on expanding via franchising the concept beyond Fairfield County.

It’s always a good day to…GOFER Ice Cream

For the past several months, in preparation for the franchise opportunity launch, the team has been working with Franchise Industry Veteran Gary Occhiogrosso of Franchise Growth Solutions. “Gary brings his experience in not only the Franchise Industry but specifically in the frozen dessert business. He has the deep knowledge and connections specifically needed at this point in our growth. With the addition of Franchise Growth Solutions to the team, we are working with the best in the business to make sure we do franchising right. An investment made by a Franchisee is, in many cases, a once and a lifetime decision, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.” commented Jay Ragusa.

Mr. Occhiogrosso has 30+ years of experience in franchise development and sales and was integral to the success of nationally recognized brands, including Ranch*1, Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille, and brands found under the multi-brand franchisor, TRUFOODS, LLC.

Occhiogrosso stated: “It’s a compelling franchise opportunity, the frozen dessert business continues to grow. People love ice cream. But more than merely the best cream, Gofer creates memories by delivering a family and community experience. With frozen treats to meet virtually every customer trend, whether Plant-Based, or Fat-Free or Soft Serve or our Premium Ice Cream, Gofer Ice Cream gives our Franchise Partners a unique competitive advantage in the Ice Cream business.”

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ABOUT GOFER ICE CREAM
Gofer Ice Cream provides premium hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream, plant-based ice cream, fat-free Gofer Lite, Italian ice, smoothies, and Razzles, as well as ice cream products and novelties through five retail locations in Southern Fairfield County, Conn. Gofer opened its first store in Greenwich in 2003 and has since grown with both company and franchisee-owned shops also now open in Cos Cob, Stamford, Wilton, and Darien. The company is a multi-year award winner of “The Best of the Gold Coast,” a people’s choice award conducted through Moffly Media. Gofer Franchise Systems LLC awards franchises to operate under the Gofer Ice Cream brand.

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ABOUT FRANCHISE GROWTH SOLUTIONS, LLC
Franchise GrowthSolutions, LLC is a strategic planning, franchise development and sales organization offering franchise sales, brand concept and development, strategic planning, real estate and architectural development, vendor management, lead generation, and advertising, marketing, and PR including social media. Franchise Growth Solutions’ proven “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” system puts both franchisors and potential franchisees on the fast track to growth. Membership in Franchise Growth Solutions’ client portfolio is by recommendation only.

For more information, please contact Gary Occhiogrosso at 917.991.2465 or via email at [email protected]

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How to Achieve A Competitive Advantage With The Help of Key Customers and Suppliers

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

The greatest barrier to successful collaboration is the conventional mindset of a combative relationship with suppliers. Negotiations are perceived as a zero-sum margin tug-of-war, with the relative power balance determining the result.

Achieving Competitive Advantage through Collaboration with Key Customers and Suppliers
By: Don Johnston

An Evolving Operational Focus
In the past when companies pondered corporate strategy, operations had been peripheral to the discussion. Operations were considered a technical matter with one way of doing things and therefore not, strategic. Strategy is about products, markets, and competitive advantage with divergent possibilities.

Operations were seen as a series of puzzles with single best solutions. The realization that optimization of parts did not optimize the whole led to new focus – operational management went up a level from looking at individual tasks to looking at whole processes. During the 1960s, Japanese manufactures obtained competitive advantage by optimizing operational efficiency, which meant lower prices, flexible production capabilities and a reduction in lead times. Operational considerations became a key theme in strategic discussions.

During the 1990s, companies like Dell took this further. The computer market was changing faster than any other market had done in history. Dell began managing operations by synchronizing functional activity into a single corporate heartbeat. An order instantly drove procurement, which drove production and then distribution. The result was a further drop in lead times, inventory requirements, and operating costs along with flexibility. Operational efficiency was Dell’s sole source of competitive advantage and it reaped enormous market share gains.

Collaboration – The Next Step
The historical trend is clear. The impact that one activity has on the next means they cannot be optimized in isolation. The result is that operations have become the key corporate strategic consideration. Yet the nature of competitive advantage is to elapse as competitors replicate it, which places a continual onus on companies to find new differentials. This begs the question – what next?

The answer lies in another step up in the way we view corporate operation. We need to look beyond the borders of the firm in our search for operational efficiency. Optimized company operations can only be achieved through alignment and coordination with the agents up and down stream. Collaboration with suppliers and customers is the essential vehicle of the 21st century for achieving competitive advantage from operations.

The benefits of Collaboration

1. Sharing demand signals
The first step to collaboration comes through information sharing. Across nearly all industries, companies play a guessing game (called forecasting) to estimate the products and quantities that their customers will demand across different markets. Even if a company gets it just right it still needs large inventory buffers to cope with demand variability, thus dramatically reducing its capital efficiency. It is imperative to compress lead times to meet demand rapidly and lessen these negative effects – this can negate the production-cost benefits of today’s off-shoring vogue in China. The butterfly’s wing effect on forecasting and ordering means the end demand signal gets wildly distorted as it echoes up the supply chain being reinterpreted and exaggerated at each turn. Inaccuracies are amplified at each stage, leaving suppliers facing high-stake production gambles.

The answer is simple – relaying end user demand signals and likely future order quantities to suppliers up the chain. This is the single biggest benefit of collaboration and it comes at virtually no cost reducing much of the variability from the forecasting calculation. A supplier’s response will be a much closer fit to market demand if information about likely order quantities is shared. Typically, inventory levels can be reduced by two thirds, service levels sky-rocket while lost revenues evaporate, and supply costs are cut by a quarter when demand information sharing is implemented correctly.

2. Efficiency through alignment
The next step is operational coordination. Working capital naturally collects at the borders of the firm. Finished Goods nearly always account for much more inventory than Work in Process, mainly because of the typical inadequacy in coordination between supply chain entities. Accounts receivable tend to be swelled by disputes and billing problems, which would be ironed out instantly if they were internal issues. Most companies currently allow working capital to accumulate at the point where their processes meet those of their customers and suppliers, which provides a great opportunity for freed cash flow and increased capital efficiency.

Costs can also be reduced dramatically through simple operational coordination between suppliers and customers. Systems, processes, and organizations can be joined up much more effectively to eliminate unnecessary duplication and increase the through-put and flexibility of both supplier and customer organizations.

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The interfaces of goods delivery/goods-receipt, invoicing/invoice-processing and collection/payment all exhibit the same misalignment and duplication. The painstaking effort spent on internal efficiency is negated by a clumsy operational weld between suppliers and customers. Functions get managed to performance metrics, which encourage activity that runs, counter to the efficiency of the organization, let alone the total supply mechanism. Firms should optimise their impact on their key customers’ total cost of supply. Configuring and managing the organization to better align with key customers and suppliers facilitates a more fluid transfer of goods, cash and information up and down the supply chain. This provides a win/win of capital and cost reduction at the same time as enhanced revenue levers for all organizations involved.

3. Joint exploration of strategic options
The final step is a strategic coordination-unlocking new market development and product development possibilities based on co-exploring avenues to competitive advantage. This is only attainable once trust has been built through information share and some steps in operational integration. With the foundation of operational collaboration set, customers and suppliers can combine in entering new markets, coordinated off-shoring and shared selected R&D to explore exciting product development opportunities and condense launch times.

Overcoming the Zero Sum Mindset
The greatest barrier to successful collaboration is the conventional mindset of a combative relationship with suppliers. Negotiations are perceived as a zero-sum margin tug-of-war, with the relative power balance determining the result. This precludes a focus on win-win value driving activity. Suppliers and customers end up perpetually wasting and reworking because they see opening a constructive dialogue as weakness or even as surrender. Many executives fear a loss of flexibility through higher switching costs from greater collaboration. The truth is that most firms’ key supplier base has not changed dramatically over the last 2 years, so collaborative activity would have been massively beneficial as the payback period can be. Still, this does not irreversibly affix firms together – competitive pressures still work to drive down prices and provide the incentive to offer the best value.

Another fear is that companies would give away their competitive advantage to customers or suppliers if they collaborate. The reality is that core competencies do not vanish through sharing demand information, or through bridging operational rifts. The reason that there are few truly vertically integrated industries is testament to this – core competencies dilute and effective organization is impossible over too lengthy a chain. Such anxiety may be unfounded, but the fear is real and debilitating. This is why companies should commit progressively and in parallel, reaching a point acceptable to both parties; from information share, to operational alignment, through to symbiotic strategic planning. As a further development, (depending on the concentration of the end user markets for a product), a company can then extend its collaborative relationships further up and down the supply chain to suppliers’ suppliers, customers’ customers and beyond.

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As with preceding operational evolutions, collaboration will doubtless be pioneered by some companies and shunned by others. Far from the micro/technical operational thinking of the past, collaboration offers a strategic perspective, divergent options and colossal profit, and capital efficiency benefits. Until it becomes universally adopted, collaboration is the most promising source of competitive advantage from operations available today.

Author Bio
Don Johnston is a consultant with the REL Consultancy Group www.relconsult.com – REL’s financial consulting services are all about generating improvements in cashflow. As experts in working capital management REL has been associated with some of the world’s most successful companies for over 30 years, focusing on all of the three key areas of payables, receivables, and inventory.

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Organizational Tips To Keep A Small Business Pointed Towards Success

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I firmly believe that the healthiest small business is the one that visits and reviews their organizational systems every six to twelve months. The small business that keeps doing the “same old, same old” is losing money. So where do you stand?

Being Organized Equals Small Business Success
By: Patty Kreamer

You started your own business because you have a burning passion for what you do. You are also – we hope — good what you do and have a desire to help others. Little do you know that running a business includes, well…running a business. This little bombshell can throw many a new business owner for a loop.

I receive numerous phone calls every week asking me how to start a business as a professional organizer. The first thing I say is that the organizing part is easy because it is a natural gift (sometimes a curse); it’s running the business that can trap you. This is not to scare a potential entrepreneur away, but to help them realize that it’s not all fun and games doing what you do best. You have to:

* Buy insurance
* Get legal advice on how to set up your business
* File for the company name with the state
* Find working capital if necessary
* File all the proper tax forms
* Open up a checking account
* Get office supplies
* Market the business
* Build a network
* And the list goes on and on…

In the initial start-up stage, entrepreneurs are often so excited about starting a new business that they pay little or no attention to what is happening with all the paperwork and electronic data you are generating. That is typical and expected. However, around the six to twelve month mark, entrepreneurs start calling people like me – a professional organizer – begging for help in setting up a system to help them be organized. I envision a hand protruding from mounds of papers reaching for help.

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The sad news is that many small businesses have never taken the time to set up systems once they’ve built up paper and electronic backlogs. They just keep generating documents without stopping to assess what is being created.

I firmly believe that the healthiest small business is the one that visits and reviews their organizational systems every six to twelve months. The small business that keeps doing the “same old, same old” is losing money. So where do you stand?

Something that has really hit home in the past year or so is that you don’t GET organized and have long lasting success. You have to BE organized. Getting organized is a quick fix of cleaning up and putting things away – usually a Band-aid (r) approach – that doesn’t last for more than a few days.

Being organized is recognizing that organization is an ongoing journey. Life doesn’t stop happening the minute you GET organized. You have to have systems in place that will help the daily flow; a lack of systems will cause clogs. These clogs come in many forms:

* Piles of papers
* Lost documents
* Misplaced items – glasses, phone, pens, keys
* Running late
* Stress and frustration…

You get the picture.

When it becomes clear to you that you are running through your day feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing, you may need to reassess your organizational skills and systems.

Your small business must overcome many hurdles to be successful. Fortunately, being organized is one hurdle that you can learn to overcome. Or you can work with a professional organizer to set up customized systems that make you functional, productive, and more pleasant to be around.

I challenge you take a deep look at the state of your small business’ organization. If you see your passion being overrun by disorganization, it’s time to take some action.

Here’s to simplifying your life!

Author Bio
Patty Kreamer, owner of Kreamer Connect, Inc., is a professional organizer, speaker, and author of the Making Life Simple… Again! e-course available at http://www.ByeByeClutter.com/MLSAHome.htm. If your business or organization is looking for a fun, dynamic, and effective speaker, you can email Patty at [email protected] or call her at 412-344-3252.

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Franchise Restaurants Show Modest Gains – What’s Happening On The Ground?

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McDonald’s is the sales standout, and they are in a class by themselves, providing value and upgraded quality to a population hungry for price/value. Taco Bell is also an exception, for similar reasons. Even Domino’s and Wingstop, who have put up great numbers in recent years, are reporting only modest gains at the moment.


RESTAURANT MAIN STREET – WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE GROUND??
By Roger Lipton

We have long believed that the restaurant industry provides an excellent leading indicator as to consumer sentiment. It is much easier to adjust dining habits, every day, than to plan and spend for large ticket items.

Quite a few restaurant companies have reported their quarterly results, ending 6/30. The sales and traffic trends, collectively, indicate that not much has changed in terms of consumer optimism. The table below provides the reported results for comp sales, including a breakdown, mostly provided by company operated locations, relative to traffic, pricing and menu mix. Also shown on the table are the outlook, when provided, relative to commodity and labor expense.

No Meaningful Improvement
The company operators show, with just a couple of important exceptions (Chipotle and Starbucks) modest comp gains, more than offset by pricing and menu mix, so traffic is negative almost everywhere. The only other outlier is Diversified Restaurant Holdings, franchised operator of the Buffalo Wild Wings system, going against very easy comparisons. Most importantly, In terms of third quarter to date, virtually no one is guiding toward a meaningful improvement. In our view, Chipotle and Starbucks (with the strongest trends) can be viewed as “special situations”. Chipotle is bouncing back from their multi-year troubles and doing a great job with mobile app/delivery, and Starbucks is the premier worldwide brand selling an addictive product by way of an extraordinary employee culture and great technology.

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The franchising companies that have reported are showing a similar trend, modest sales gains in almost all cases. The franchising companies steer away from reporting traffic, but it is safe to assume that pricing and sales mix trends are similar, so traffic is no doubt down. McDonald’s is the sales standout, and they are in a class by themselves, providing value and upgraded quality to a population hungry for price/value. Taco Bell is also an exception, for similar reasons. Even Domino’s and Wingstop, who have put up great numbers in recent years, are reporting only modest gains at the moment.

Delivery On The Rise
It’s important to note that, within the sales mix, delivery, curbside and in-store pickup, are rapidly increasing portions of the revenue mix, so dine-in traffic is down materially more than the comps that are reported. We haven’t heard any restaurant company bemoan, though they could, the fact that their physical plants are only fully utilized a few evenings per week.

In addition to the sales and traffic trends, we are equally interested in the commentary relative to cost expectations, namely commodities and labor. Expectations are mostly higher for commodity costs, dramatically so for chicken wing prices. It is clear that the benefit a year or so ago from lower commodity prices is in the rear view mirror, and higher cost of goods is likely. Labor expense, predictably, is expected to move ever higher.

CONCLUSION:

The beat goes on. With prime costs, as well as other expenses such as insurance, common area charges, utilities, etc. also increasing, it takes more than two or three points of comps to improve margins. A handful of the larger premier operators such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Darden, Domino’s and Wingstop continue to provide better the best results. However, even among these “best of breed” operators, it’s a battle for market share and an increasing challenge to generate a worthwhile return on incremental investment.

Roger Lipton
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About Roger Lipton
Roger is an investment professional with over 4 decades of experience specializing in chain restaurants and retailers, as well as macro-economic and monetary developments. After earning a BSME from R.P.I. and MBA from Harvard, and working as an auditor with Price, Waterhouse, he began following the restaurant industry as well as the gold mining industry. While he originally followed companies such as Church’s Fried Chicken, Morrison’s Cafeterias and others, over the years he invested in companies such as Panera Bread and shorted companies such as Boston Chicken (as described in Chain Leader Magazine) .